13 years ago, Bay Area Children's Theatre was five dedicated artists and educators sitting around a table eating pizza and dreaming.
This past week, we opened our very own space in downtown Berkeley. To be honest, my head is spinning a little in excitement and disbelief.
As we were painting the walls, one of our amazing artists said to me, "Nina, do you want to write your intention for the space in paint? Then we will paint over it, but the intention always remains in the room." What a terrific idea! So, I grabbed the nearest paint brush and wrote "CREATE IMAGINE PLAY".
Here, in the land of the internet, I will take a moment to expand on those words and share our intentions with you.
At the start of any artistic endeavor is creation.
As theatre makers, we create a world in which all that exists is you and the rest of the audience in a single moment. But, when introducing an entire generation to the joy of art as a part of their lives, creation is more than artistic. We are sparking creation through:
· Conversations with family members or classmates
· Ideas inspiring kids to see beyond their own surroundings
· Worlds that children can jump in and explore
Our new Berkeley space will expand our ability to create with two dedicated theatre spaces and an interactive lobby, built for exploration.
Imagination is raw material for building empathy and storytelling. Every imagination is a muscle that needs exercising.
In designing a production, we weigh and measure artistic possibilities, deciding how much of our design will be literal or representative, and how much should be left to the imaginations of our young audience members.
We love seeing drawings by children who come to our student matinees because it gives us an invaluable peek into their view and how they used their imaginations to fill in, around, between and through the lines to create a world uniquely their own.
Kids with healthy, active imaginations put themselves in other's shoes, looking at life through a lens of options and opportunity. Our new space will help us inspire imagination through interactive activities, performances and classes.
PLAY is at the very heart of everything we do.
Children learn through play, and when we connect with children, we transport ourselves, playing and learning with them.
Through play, we become children again and explore, try new things, see the world differently, and practice what we are learning.
This is why our classes incorporate play as a means of learning and why we strive to weave play with storytelling throughout all of our productions. This way, each class, each performance is new and exciting and different, seen through the eyes of our young audiences.
In our beautiful new space, we encourage play in our lobby, in our classes, in the rehearsal process, and in every performance. Play is what drives us, and what makes it possible for us to transform practicing what we’re learning to the magic of live performance.
I hope you will come visit us and share this dream come true as we continue to create, imagine, and play with you and your family. See you at Berkeley Center!